MANAMA: Retired Colonel Barrie Walmsley, who was a widely known and respected senior detective in Bahrain’s Interior Ministry and a leading figure in the kingdom’s British expatriate community, has died in England.
He was 78.
The veteran police officer, who joined the Interior Ministry in 1989 as a CID adviser after retiring as a Detective Superintendent in England, died on December 27 following a very short battle with cancer in St Catherine’s hospice, Preston.
Col Walmsley spent 15 years with the ministry, first as a lieutenant colonel and later as a full colonel.
“As a naturally friendly and sociable ‘bear’ of a man with a huge and infectious personality, Barrie quickly established a wide circle of friends amongst the expatriate community and became a respected and trusted confidante to many,” Interior Ministry adviser Andrew Stephenson told the GDN.
“He used his social networking skills to establish crucial working relationships with various agencies which led to a number of successful investigations,” said the friend, former colleague and long-term expatriate.
A keen supporter of golf at Awali Golf Club and the Awali Camels international cricket touring team, Col Walmsley was always on hand when moral support was needed.
“Professionally, Barrie was kept busy in Bahrain including the investigation of a massive counterfeit currency case involving many millions of BD20 counterfeit notes, an investigation which took Barrie on a paper trail to Chad and Niger in Africa, France and the US.
“He also dealt with a range of other enquiries including a number of murders, serious assaults and frauds.”
According to friends, Col Walmsley used to raise the Bahrain flag in his garden at home on Bahrain’s National Day, even though it coincided with his wife Clare’s funeral.
Col Walmsley finally retired in 2004 and returned to his family home in Hutton, Lancashire in the north of England.
Born at Much Hoole, Lancashire on March 15, 1939, Col Walmsley was educated at Christchurch school, Southport, England, until he joined Lancashire Constabulary as the youngest-ever police cadet shortly before the ‘official’ joining age of 16.
Having completed training and become a regular constable by 1958, he started his career in Rossendale, Lancashire as a 19-year-old policeman.
It was while walking the beat in uniform at Rossendale that he met Clare who was to become his wife.
Col Walmsley worked in uniform for three years until 1961, when he transferred to the CID in Lancashire and began a series of rapid promotions and involvement in some world-famous high-profile investigations.
He was evidence officer on the infamous ‘Moors Murders’ case as a young detective as part of a team credited with playing a major part in identifying and bringing to justice the child murderers Myra Hindley and Ian Brady.
Amongst his other notable enquiries were the Eccleston handless corpse investigation, the Preston NatWest Bank Robbery and delicate terrorism related investigations in Northern Ireland.
He was also a senior officer on the Central Lancashire Murder Squad and the Regional Crime Squad.
In retirement, he learned to play the piano, enjoyed his garden, travel, golf in Hereford with former Bahrain military expats, fishing and spending time with his family, wife Clare, his grandchild and a number of local public houses.
Clare died on December 5, 2016.
Col Walmsley is survived by son John, who currently works for the British Council based in Bangkok, Thailand; daughter Anne, who is a police sergeant, and seven-year-old grandson Edward.
A funeral service will be held on Thursday at St Michael’s Church, Much Hoole (near Preston), Lancashire at 11.15am.